|Mike Trout July 24, 2011|
By Keith Allison via Wikimedia Commons
Corners: right, left, first, third
Middle: catcher, short, second, center
Teams expect/want hitters at the corners, fielders in the middle. If they also get the reverse in addition, then that's a bonus. Example: Mike Trout in center.
I'm guessing that teams pay more for hitting in the middle. It's generally considered a bonus to have hitting in the middle but only if you also have hitting at the corners. Otherwise, you're just transferring the hitting and paying more for it.
Having a good hitting shortstop is a bonus if you also have a good hitting player at third. For years the Yankees had that with Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. In 2014 they will not.
What made two time MVP middle men Johnny Bench (catcher) and Joe Morgan (second) especially valuable to the Bid Red Machine of the 1970s was that Cincinnati also had good hitters at the corners: Tony Perez, Lee May, Ken Griffey, Sr., George Foster. Otherwise it would have been a trade off.
It should be easier and less expensive to get hitters at the corners and fielders in the middle.
Do teams think about it in those basic terms? You would think so but the Yankees, certainly, seem oblivious. Many fans are oblivious, too.